Isles Views 21.11.08

Peerie Nights Oot

REGULAR gatherings are held in the Uyeasound Hall during the tourist season. They are called A Peerie Night Oot and while they are aimed at visitors a lot of support comes from local folk.

The nights consist of music, dance, storytelling, spinning and knitting demonstrations, talks, visits from Guizer Jarl’s Squads and much more.

Margaret Peterson of Nornova was the organiser and driving force but she is taking a well-deserved rest and Angela Fraser, in a seamless changeover has picked up the reins. Any money raised is given to charity and each year a decision is made as to which charity will benefit.

They normally choose a single charity because money donated has a greater impact if it is undivided.

This year the money has been given for the purpose of buying a syringe pump for the local health centre. Those devices, each costing £2,000, give patients 24-hour relief from pain, they administer the correct amount of drugs and no tablets are required. Unst Health Centre already has one but another will give back up.

A lunch party was organised in the Uyeasound Hall last Saturday and Macmillan nurse Alison Mustard was there to accept a cheque for £805.88, the Peerie Nights Oot raised this splendid total, five were held last summer.

Mrs Mustard pointed out that this, and other money, raised by the public was entirely separate from health board money, not only would the money be spent locally but local folk would have the final say in how it was used.

She went on to say that she, and her colleagues, were often asked advice on what was required and this they were very willing to give. She suggested that any surplus money might be spent on a reclining chair designed to give maximum comfort to folk who find it difficult to get in and out of bed.

The lunch itself was delicious with tattie soup made with reestit mutton, vegetarian minestrone, an array of sandwiches and mouth watering fancies, fruit cake and mincemeat pies.

Blueprint for Education

SIC head of education Helen Budge attended a meeting of Yell Community Council last Friday evening to talk about the Blueprint for Education.

She explained that this time around they had been asked to do a full consultation involving the whole of Shetland; the relatively recent Best Value Review had been criticised because it was not all inclusive.

A working group will cover all areas and as well as meeting community councils a series of public meetings are being held. Mrs Budge said that it is a difficult time, the reserves of money held by Shetland Islands Council are falling and school rolls are falling too. However when the consultation process is completed the working group will report to a meeting of the services committee on or around the 12th February 2009. An action plan will follow.

At the community council meeting in Mid Yell School it was clear that the main concern for the members present was the future of the primary schools at Burravoe and Cullivoe.

Mrs Budge was challenged on the wording and tone of the questionnaire. Some felt that the statements in the document were, in some cases, “leading” and also that folk in other areas of Shetland where the future of local schools were secure may be complaisant.

One statement in the questionnaire is that “a minimum pupil roll of 20 allows for the most effective educational and service delivery”. People filling in the paper can tick boxes for this and all the other statements indicating that they either strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree.

The schools facing the greatest danger of closure have less than 20 pupils and supporters of those schools are angry at the suggestion that pupils taught in a small school might under achieve as a result.

Mrs Budge responded to this and all the other points openly and frankly. She promised that if any school was to be closed in the future the net saving will be shown as well as the cost of keeping the school open.

One of the members from Burravoe, Laurence Odie, pointed out that in the South Mainland some argued that school closures there had had no detrimental effect on the communities. However, he said: “We in Yell have suffered our pain with seven school closures already.”

Four members of the public also attended the meeting and chairman Dan Thompson gave them the opportunity to ask questions too. Overall the meeting was frank but friendly and members appreciated the willingness of Mrs Budge to discuss all aspects of education provision.

A public meeting, with Mr Thompson as chairman, will be held on Wednesday in the Mid Yell School. Mrs Budge will make a presentation of the Blueprint for Education and a large turnout will be appreciated. Forty people attended the public meeting in Whalsay, 23 in Skerries and 42 in Unst.

In Unst the questionnaire was criticised and the main concern was, again, school closures. Considerable disappointment was expressed that none of the councillors representing the area were present.

Careers Fair

The Careers Fair is being held today in the Baltasound Junior High School from 2.30pm until 3.40pm. Present will be people from all walks of life from ferrymen to doctors. There will be opportunities to learn about Modern Apprenticeships and Skillseeker courses.

Shetland College, the NAFC Marine Centre, North Isles Learning Centre and Train Shetland will all be there. The basic aim is to involve young people with local colleges, business and employers. It is also to show pupils different careers and to give them the opportunity to talk to people who work in that particular field.

This is an enterprise activity organised by secondary one and two pupils as part of careers education programme. William Patterson says that, on behalf of the pupils, friends and families are welcome to come along.

CLAN 1,2,3 appeal

There are two fund-raising events in South Yell this weekend for the new CLAN House in Aberdeen.

A social evening in the Burravoe Hall tomorrow night has been organised by Burravoe SWRI with an impressive array of talent to provide the entertainment.

There is the Northmavine Fiddle and Accordion Club, Dodo Elphinstone, Lorraine Thomson and friends from Unst. There will be supper and a raffle – in fact something for everyone.

On Sunday the takings from the monthly quiz in the West Yell Hall will go to the same worthy cause. Organiser and question setter Ruby Polson, along with her husband Hamish, says this quiz will be somewhat different from the normal.

It will still have seven rounds but each question will have a single word answer and the first letter of each answer will be given. Ruby says that it should be easy and a lot of fun.

The organisers of both events are looking for large turnouts to support CLAN House that has brought so much comfort and help to so many Shetland folk.

Fund-raising in Skerries

Last weekend folk in Skerries were well to the fore when it came to fund-raising for good causes.

On Friday night the Nursery bairns raised £105 for Children in Need. They baked Pudsey Bear biscuits and went round all the houses selling them.

Saturday was another busy day – the annual Mary Jean Pairs Bowling Competition.

Mary was a very keen bowler herself and following her death her family decided to have this competition in her memory along with a raffle with the proceeds going to cancer charities.

It proved to be a very entertaining afternoon and evening with very close scores. There was a break for a lovely buffet meal after which the final was played. The winners were mother and son Barbara and John William Anderson. Mary’s grandson, Jonathan Leask, presented the trophies.

The raffle followed with over 80 items donated for prizes and £571 was raised which the family decided should go to the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal.

The organisers wish to thank all those who took part, donated raffle prizes, home bakes and prepared the buffet.


Following the recent and highly successful Slim-a-thon programme run by the Mid Yell Health Centre a follow-up programme called Counterweight is to be launched on Wednesday at 6pm.

Many who seek to shed pounds and stones will say that it is easier to lose weight than it is to avoid putting it back on again.

Counterweight will help slimmers to consolidate and practice nurse Hilary Franklin says Maria McQuigg will be there to provide support and expertise to all who attend.

St Colman’s meeting

The service at St Colman’s Church in Burravoe on Sunday will be at 2.45pm and the Rev. Keith Henshall will conduct it. After that, around an hour later, the annual general meeting will take place.

Lawrence Tulloch


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